Dream Big & Buy The Shoes

January 22, 2018

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Please tell me I'm not the only one who goes to make tacos and realizes we are out of seasoning. Womp womppppp....well, we've made it homemade before and it honestly tastes SO much better.
So I thought it was time to share the recipe on the blog because it's too good not to. I enjoy using it more than the packets you buy at the store, and it's really easy to make! You KNOW how I love easy recipes ;)

You will need:
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
2 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper

To make:
Measure all of the ingredients in to a jar with a lid
Shake until all ingredients are mixed
For one pound of meat you would use 3 tablespoon of seasoning plus about 1/3 cup of water
Shake well before each use

Again, I apologize for my not so good food photography, it's a struggle for me. But, food doesn't always have to look pretty to be good, right?!
I hope you enjoy this and try it out for your next Taco Tuesday- and let me know how you like it!

Have you ever made your own taco seasoning?

January 19, 2018

3 Months With Baby Bella

As of Tuesday, our girl is 3 months old! I can't believe how time is flying...but isn't that always the case?!
Less than a month until I return to work and I've been soaking up alllll the baby snuggles. Bella loves to cuddle and since she started smiling it's been way more fun. She's making new noises in her babbling and is such a happy baby- we are so blessed!

Loves: Her big brother, she lights up when he's around and watches his every move.
Holding hands- she always falls asleep holding on tight to one of our fingers, it's the sweetest thing ever and when we are laying on the couch together she loves to do it too.
Lights- when the Christmas trees were up she loved to stare at the lights and look around at them. She will get fixated on one when we move rooms and it's so cute and funny.
Running water- when she's a bit fussy this will calm her down immediately- she loves showers and listening to water.
Not a Fan of: Getting changed- she freak out when something gets pulled over her head- like a onesie. Hiccups- and she gets them A LOT due to her reflux...poor girl!

Sleeping: On Christmas Eve Bella started sleeping through the night- what a gift! That lasted a week, then she started waking up once through the night for a bottle-usually around 4 or 4:30 am. She has been fighting her sleep and naps the last week too-but usually only at night. Bella will be almost asleep then start flailing her arms and legs and crying for a minute, then she's back to almost sleeping again. We do this for about 40 minutes every night before falling asleep for the night. It's not as bad during naps throughout the day- but she does not want to miss a thing, that's for sure!

Feeding: She is eating like a champ and gaining weight, we are so thrilled. Still some days with a lot of spit up- like a concerning amount...so our pediatrician is referring us to a GI specialist for a second opinion and deeper look. He thinks most of it is due to her small size and hopefully she will grow out these issues with reflux.

Stats: At her 2 month visit, which was a few weeks late due to the holiday and both us and the Doctor traveling- she was 7 lbs, 7 ounces and almost 2 feet tall! I weighed her on the 15th and she's SO close to 8 lbs- only 2 ounces away!
I told Chuck that I thought she was starting to look like me, and he said that he thought she looked like my Mom. That makes my heart SO happy!

Favorite Moments and Things I Don't Want To Forget From Month 3:
When you started smiling- it is THE cutest thing and you're so happy-smiling ALL the time! It makes my Mommy heart so very happy and smile right back.
Your first airplane ride- you were so alert and loved looking around & were a perfect baby.
We shared our first Christmas with you and it was so sweet & we know next year will be even more fun!
Your first birthday party- we celebrated your brother turning 14!
Growing out of your newborn clothes- you are going to be a tall girl if I had to guess...you are already so long.

Products We Are Loving:
Graco GliderLite Swing- our girl LOVES to swing. It is a life-saver when she is fussy because this calms her down 9.5 times out of 10.
Bright Starts Tummy Time & Play Mat- Bella got this from her Aunt and Uncle for Christmas and it's nice that it's small enough to fold up and move easily from room to room. She loves moving around on her mat and the rattles and mirrors it comes with.
Old Navy Footed Sleepers- when you're in the house and changing diapers alllll day long with a baby who doesn't like getting changed- these are amazing. They zip & unzip so easy and hold up well after tons of washes. We already purchased some in her next size- she's finally out of *MOST* newborn clothing. Does anyone else think the Cat and Jack line from Target runs pretty big?
Baby Keurig- Chuck came home with this contraption a while ago and after being out of town making bottles with water like a normal person I have realized how much I love this thing. It's really a Baby Brezza that makes bottles with the press of a button like a Keurig makes coffee.

I was telling Chuck recently that I feel bad because there's not a ton you can do with a newborn. On the daily we do tummy time, we snuggle, we listen to music and hang out- but what else do you do? She's not in to toys yet- so I feel like I'm missing out in some way. Any other suggestions?

And now that our family has received their Christmas gifts ;) I'll share a few of our family pictures. I can't wait to see how these evolve throughout the years :)

I can't wait to see what new things Bella will do this month. I feel so lucky to be this chic's Mom :)

January 17, 2018

5 Tips For Traveling With A Baby

I won't lie- I was having some major anxiety about traveling with Bella, especially with her being a preemie and so many airport germs. Everything went really well, so I wanted to share some tips about traveling for anyone it may help!
Use your stroller- if you were having any doubts whether you need it or not or if it's just extra baggage...you will use it. It was so handy to have to hold your things, since it has a large storage area at the bottom. Our stroller- the Vive Travel System from Evenflo has some nice benefits like cup holders and a snack tray- where we put our cell phones and boarding passes which made traveling through the airport a breeze. You do have to take everything apart and collapse everything when you go through security which was a bit of a pain, but there's nothing you can do to avoid that- and having the stroller is well worth the little bit of hassle.

Be prepared- Just in case, we had Bella's birth certificate in her diaper bag...you never know what will happen traveling with children. We looked up information prior to leaving like if we could take the stroller- and you can gate check a car seat and stroller which is great. So you can take it all the way to the gate and walk it all the way until you board the plane, and then it's there for you upon returning off the flight which is really convenient. There wasn't always family bathrooms close- so have a traveling changing pad with you to take in to the restroom. There was always room in the women's bathroom to change her- but no designated changing table so I'm glad my diaper bag came with a changing pad to take in with me. Think ahead about things you may have questions about or may need, and have any items easily accessible. I carry some Lysol wipes and Wet Ones in my diaper bag so I used those to wipe down things as we got on the plane too.
Accept the help-If you're traveling with someone, use their help. I'm one who always wants to do things on my own, but I used Chuck and Ethan's help at the airport big time. Ethan was a huge help unloading things and helping get settled after going through security. Chuck is an excellent Dad who's always willing to help and took Bella while I got my much needed Starbucks. Security can intimidate me at the airports, and the one time we were waiting for Chuck's things to come through and I was juggling Bella and our luggage with one hand and I flat out asked the security member if I could leave my things at the end of the belt for a minute while I got situated. He was very nice and told me to take my time. When I was in the bathroom and looking for a changing table the first time, the bathroom attendant told me there wasn't one but showed me where to change Bella and asked if she could lay her pad down while I was getting adjusted. There's friendly, helpful people out there - so if you feel comfortable...use their help!

Dress comfortably- I like to look nice, but stay comfortable at the same time. I often am dressing in layers when I travel- and since doing a lot of extra walking (trips to the bathroom before takeoff with baby) as a Mom I stayed extra comfy in my Nike's. I opted for my favorite Lush top, with an Old Navy cardigan, leggings and a Frou Frou & Frill scarf. By the time we took off for North Carolina, I was down to just my tee on top- it's nice because usually I am cold on flights. All the extra moving around with Bella made it different for this trip, but I did want that sweater when we were walking around the airport before boarding the plane.

Don't stress- I was working myself up so much about how she would be on the plane, and the first flight she never even slept. She was wide awake looking around- watching Ethan play games and looking out the window. When we went to get off the first flight the people in the row in front of us were so shocked there was a baby on the plane because she never made a peep. I had a bottle ready and gave that to her once we boarded and took off so that she was sucking on something while her ears may be popping and such. But I guess my point is- you just can't predict what will happen, especially if it's the first time. Just have things that your baby likes handy- we had her Wubanub and I have an app on my phone with different noises just in case she wanted something to soothe herself. She likes the sound of my hair dryer and running water- and those are in the app too (called Cradle). 





Do you have any travel plans this year? Any tips for traveling with children?

January 15, 2018

Is Writing for Blogs Dead?

I was so disappointed when I realized what I was reading. One of my favorite shop owners and curated blog writers said that no one really writes anymore.
Unfortunately, she's wrong. I don't typically like to call people out like this, but she's very wrong. She went on and on about how there are only influencers now, and if you have a blog you should only be sharing pictures- because that's all people care about. This curated blogger went on to say that weekend recaps were old news, and the only writing being done is when you want to be featured in the Huffington Post.
Wrong, wrong and wrong.

I have over 20 examples of how she's incorrect because I read the same blogs every week of my peers, my friends and inspirational people who share more than just pictures. They share their weight gain struggles, they share about their pets and unfortunate things they are dealing with, they share their life victories, their new houses, and they share their lives with us.
Sometimes it is hard to just say what's on your mind or get things off your chest. I know that I often have thoughts that I don't always know how to convey articulately on this piece of my the Internet, so I keep them to myself. So you'll get a post on my new favorite recipe instead, and you know what...that's just fine too.
You see, I love reading about what's in your bag, or the newest mascara you purchased and loved, or tips on packing only one bag to take on your next trip. I think we all have something to share- some of us have interests in a wide variety of topics and that's really amazing that a number of blogs can entertain us. 
I love reading about your weekend- because maybe you shared a restaurant where you live, or something you struggled with and I relate to. Your words speak to me and some posts have literally helped me get through some big life changes- like finding out we were expecting a baby and stressing because we lived in a two bedroom townhouse. Your words helped me realize that all a baby needs is love--and yes, we did end up moving in to a larger home but during that time YOUR WORDS helped me get through. 
Writing for blogs is definitely not dead, I actually think blogging is booming. Women who stayed home with their children have given themselves a bigger purpose, we are learning coding and photography, and we are part of a community of people who understand one another in some special way.

What are your thoughts on blogging? I would love to hear what you think.